Health bosses threaten to sack union activists for their efforts to protect patient care ahead of Thursday’s protest

News release

The Hospital Employees’ Union says it’s “unconscionable” that health employers have warned local union activists that they could be fired for their efforts to ensure that essential service staffing is in place to protect patient care in B.C. hospitals during the union’s protest action set for Thursday.

The threats were made to local leaders by employers at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Burnaby General and Prince George Regional Hospital. They came soon after the union announced a measured five-hour protest tomorrow to oppose the Campbell government’s move to rip up legally binding collective agreements that paves the way for hospital closures and widespread privatization of health care services. Activists were warned that any activities, including organizing essential services staff, were grounds for termination tomorrow.

“This is a heavy-handed and highly provocative move by health care bosses,” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “It’s simply unconscionable that employers would threaten to fire caregivers who are working hard to put in place essential services staffing levels and add additional staff to keep operating rooms open and running tomorrow.

“We’re working hard to protect patient care during our measured protest,” Allnutt says. “But health employers seem more interested in intimidating our members than looking out for the best interest of patients.”

Allnutt says that despite the threats, HEU activists will be working through the night to minimize impacts of their protest action on patient, resident and client care.

-30- For more information, please contact Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell) Stephen Howard, director of communications, 604-240-8524 (cell)